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12 Ways to Embarrass Your Teen

Photograph by Getty Images

I have always kind of thought of myself as a pretty cool mom. I try to stay up on what's what in the teen world—at least as much as I can grasp from my Twitter feed. But even though I'm halfway through raising my second teenager, there are still a few things I have to learn. Apparently, there are some things you just shouldn't do.

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1. Tell a breastfeeding story

It doesn't matter how many years it has been since you had a wee one. We all gravitate toward those stories from the trenches of new motherhood. I love talking to new moms, whether it's at the grocery store or at a family function. But watch out for stories involving the words nipple, breast, nurse and breastmilk if the star of your story is standing right there. Because no teen can forget that image.

2. Text an inappropriate picture

Texting is a cool way to stay in touch with your teen. Texting her a picture of your tampon box and asking her to buy some for you at Target? Not cool.

3. Give her a pat on the butt

It's easy for a mom to forget that while cute little baby thighs and baby butt are fair game for pinching and patting, a pat on the butt of your teen is beyond embarrassing. This is also true of trying to wipe food from her face or "fixing" her hair in public.

4. Do a yoga stretch

Maybe you're a true yoga enthusiast or maybe you just love the pants. But whether you're truly flexible or just stretching that tight hamstring, yoga stretching is beyond embarrassing. Also applies when your teen has friends visiting your home. No. Yoga.

5. Make any type of noise

Bonus points for loudly blowing your nose.

Ill-timed grunts, sneezing attacks or particularly loud exclamations of surprise are a sure way to draw an eye roll from your teen, especially in public. Bonus points for loudly blowing your nose.

6. Tell a story about high school

Ah, the glory days. There is something about being the parent of a teen that brings out the stories about your own days in high school. Yes, he remembers that you were a football star. And she has heard the one about the prom dress wardrobe malfunction. Problem is, no matter how funny or cool you think your stories are, in your teen's mind you were the class idiot.

7. Borrow her shirt—then tell everyone

One of the coolest things about having a teen daughter is being able to share clothing items. Same shoe size? Score. Cute sweater? Borrow it if she's willing, just don't admit it in public. "We wear the same size!" might get you kudos among your friends, but it's cringe-worthy for your teen.

8. Order for her at Starbucks

Remember when your teen was little, and you ordered her food? Don't. Nothing is more embarrassing to a teen than having your mom order your grande mocha and requesting it "not too hot."

9. Ask the waitress too many questions

The more questions you ask ... the higher the eye roll count from your teen.

Gluten-free? That's important. Allergies? Obviously you need to ask questions about menu items. But the more questions you ask about the chicken salad (free-range? organic? antibiotic-free? albino? local?) the higher the eye roll count from your teen.

10. Put your arm around him

Hanging out in public with your teen? While it might seem second nature to drape your arm casually over his shoulder, this simple act is highly likely to bring you the cold shoulder. However, if your teen happens to snuggle up next to you on her own? Don't move or you'll spoil it. Enjoy.

11. Try to bond over cramps

Let's face it moms, cramps stink. So when your daughter joins the monthly club it's tempting to commiserate over how much you hate cramps. But nothing freaks out a teen girl more than to realize that she will still be experiencing this monthly joy when she is old, like you. Just don't go there, but make sure you stock up on Motrin.

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12. Tell her she looks like her brother

Family resemblances are always a hot topic of conversation, especially at family functions. And while your teen daughter might share a lot of physical traits with her older brother, she does not want to hear about them. At all.

Think you can be the parent of a teenager and still maintain your coolness? Good luck with that—it sure hasn't worked for me.

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